None of us have ever been to Ironman Cozumel, but with the race coming up on November 30, we wanted to get you some information if you’re going. One of our readers, Nanci Hulting, was kind enough to provide us with some travel, food, fun, and spectating tips from when her husband did the race in 2012. For your information, it is a one-loop swim, a three-loop bike course, and a three-loop run course. The finish line is at city hall square in San Miguel de Cozumel. Thank you Nanci…
My husband competed at IMCOZ in November 2012. We took our three daughters and stayed in a beachfront condo within walking distance of the swim start. We flew into Cancun on Thanksgiving Day, took a bus to Playa del Carmen, caught the ferry to Cozumel, and picked up a rental car. The ferry crossing was an adventure itself, due to winds and rough seas. We were very glad to have used TriBikeTransport for this race, so that we didn’t have to lug the bike!
We stopped by the MEGA (equivalent to a Super Wal-Mart) for groceries, some cheap snorkeling gear, and other necessities as we traveled with carry-on luggage only. Make sure to check out Zermatt’s bakery – delicious – great for homemade pastries and coffee. We had most of our meals at the condo, but did eat out at Wet Wendy’s Margarita House and had a fabulous post-race meal at a small, authentic, locals-type restaurant located off the main square. (We can’t remember the name – so sorry.)
TriWivesClub – Another reader recommended several other restaurants – Burritos Gorditos for great food, great prices, and a very friendly owner. It is BYOB. Also, for a nice dinner try Kondesa Restaurant and for great, fresh fish go to Pescaderia San Carlos. And added for coffee and pastries, you can’t beat El Coffee Cozumel.
Besides the Ironman, which is full of local support, multi-national, and high energy, we enjoyed a day trip driving the bike course, seeing the San Gervasio Mayan ruins (the kids needed a learning activity since they missed some school), and shopping. The highlight of the activities was the day after the race going to Chakanaab National Park – a bit pricy, but the kids loved it and the snorkeling was nice. My Ironman hubby appreciated the naps in the hammocks. You can also rent mopeds to get around the island, which are a lot of fun.
As for spectating tips . . .#1 stay hydrated with bottled water! We walked down the beach from our condo to watch the race start. In 2012, the current was VERY strong and caused slow swim times and DNFs. My husband was 15-20 minutes off his swim pace, causing a little consternation for the family. We didn’t attempt to go into the swim area, but caught him as he got on the bike.
We saw him off on the 2nd loop of the bike and caught a taxi up to town after lunch in our condo. I did a bit of shopping with the girls, caught him coming off the bike, and then staked out different spots on the run course to cheer on the triathletes. It was so fun to see all the different countries.
Water on the course was in little bags rather than cups. We had dinner at a Subway near the finish area. There are lots of drums and crowds near the finish line. My husband completed the race in 11 hours, 9 minutes – a bit slower than anticipated, due to the current during the swim and the headwinds on the bike, but he had a great marathon. I highly suggest scoping out a meeting place prior to the race, as the finish area can get congested.
Hope this helps and have a great race and spectating day….